Things have been going from bad to worse in the UK so far this year, but if the British haven’t suffered enough already, now an entire 27-storey residential apartment building in West London has been entirely engulfed in flames, although the cause of the fire is unknown at this point.
Originally incorrectly reported as having 24 floors, Grenfell Tower, located in Lancaster West Estate in North Kensington and containing 120 individual residences, was built in 1974 and is undergoing major refurbishments. But right now, it has flames spewing from every window and witnesses claim to have seen people jumping from the higher floors, however, only two people are currently being treated for smoke inhalation. It has been difficult to safely evacuate the residences as there is only one central staircase in the entire building.
Currently, around 200 firefighters and 20 fire engines are battling to contain the blaze that started at around 1.15am Wednesday morning, while rescue workers try to evacuate everyone safely, the London Fire Brigade said. Two police said in a Twitter post that two people are currently being treated for smoke inhalation and they’re waiting updates on further injuries. “The whole building is on fire [and] spreading fast,” witness Goran Karimi told CNN, adding that he saw people jumping from the building.
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The London Fire Brigade have stated on Facebook that the fire started on the second floor from the top. “Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire. This is a large and very serious incident and we have deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances,” said Assistant Commissioner Dan Daly.
CNN producer Salma Abdelaziz, who was standing outside Grenfell Tower described the scene as terrifying. “Chunks of the building are falling off in flames,” she said, adding there is a “massive” swathe of fire across the side of the building. Residents claim that there are still people trapped inside.
According to property firm Rydon, Grenfell Tower is the highest building in the area and was recently the subject of a $10.9 million redevelopment, including a new entrance and heating system, however, it is still unclear if there is any link between the renovations and the blaze.